Manchester’s Z-arts, based in Hulme, has won the prestigious Lever Prize 2017.

The Manchester venue for children and families which covers all art forms and creative activities, won the award for a brand-new project, My Planet, a creative arts project aimed at increasing attainment and aspiration for primary aged children living in poverty in Hulme and Moss Side with applied learning that can be used across the region and nationally.

Liz O’Neill, chief executive at Z-arts, commented “We are delighted to have won the 2017 Lever Prize. This award, combined with our recent announcement that we have been awarded Arts Council England Catalyst Evolve funding will make for a very exciting 2017 for Z-arts, helping us build our networks with the corporate sector.  The dual strength of both of these awards signifies a significant step-change for Z-arts.  Winning the Lever Prize gives us a brilliant opportunity to reach more of Manchester’s children and families to inspire them to use creative learning to maximise their potential. The award will enable us to develop My Planet, a transforming event in a child’s life using the magic that only an arts project can provide. We’ll stimulate a child’s desire to learn across the curriculum through arts, creativity and culture and over 12 months children will be given the chance to explore immersive experiences, cutting edge technology and engaging theatre to help create their new world.”

As a practical example of how the vision for this project will be delivered, Alstom Transport have already agreed to host a visit of Year 4 pupils (aged 8 and 9) from Webster Primary School in Hulme.  The Alstom site is where they refurbish trains and includes a giant train wash, similar to an automatic car wash, which is fascinating to watch.  The aim is to inspire the children to think about their future and bring to life some of the lessons that they will be learning through the My Planet programme

The Lever Prize which is now in its twelfth year and judged by a panel of representatives from the North West Business Leadership Team has almost become a permanent fixture in Manchester with previous winners including Manchester International Festival (2007), The National Football Museum (2009), FutureEverything (2010), The Whitworth (2011), Hallé St Peter’s (2013), Contact (2014), Manchester Museum (2015) and Museum of Science and Industry (2016).  Along with a trophy the winner receives £10,000 cash and the opportunity of collaborating with some of the region’s most influential business leaders.  The annual award is given to arts organisations in North West England who are judged to be regionally distinctive with international or potentially international significance, and who show a high calibre of existing work and can demonstrate exciting future developments.